As the 3rd largest African-American enlistment center, Camp Nelson played a pivotal role in the lives of enslaved Americans in this region, and ultimately helped turn the tide to end slavery once and for all in the United States. Of the 180,000 African-American men who joined the fight, more black men enlisted in the Union army in Kentucky—and, nearly 10,000—gained their freedom and prepared for battle here at Camp Nelson. Initially established the rolling pasture land as an enormous base of operations: supply depot, army hospital the original camp covered 4,000 acres with some 300 buildings and fortifications. On one side, this immense complex had the natural defenses of the palisades, rising over 400 feet from the Kentucky River, and Hickman Creek to the south, east and west. Camp Nelson could also boast of a daring and progressive feat of engineering for the day: a massive water pump that allowed for indoor plumbing and a 500,000-gallon water reservoir. All of the buildings, save an officers' quarters, were dismantled and sold following the closure of the base. Begin your journey at Camp Nelson with a tour of the reconstructed army barracks, built on the original site. Following an inspirational film, travel back in time by touring the inner sanctum of the museum for history come to life. The exhibits convey just how impressive the inner workings of Camp Nelson were with life-like recreations of camp scenes, refugee housing, and battle artillery, a room with Civil War-era medical equipment on display, and a recreated post office and commissary. You can also learn about notable descendants of the Hall community and see more found items in the Archaeology room.Outside, explore the nearly five miles of interpretative trails that wind through the former encampment, and experience what it is like to walk in the shoes of the enslaved men, women and children who came here with the hope of a new life. Tours of the Oliver Perry House, used for officer housing, is available on a limited basis with coordination from Camp Nelson staff.Explore the museum, built on the site of the barracks, to see the artifacts archaeologists unearthed on this site—shards of dishes and bottles, pipes and buttons, guns—that tell the story of the day to day camp life. They even found remnants of a wartime photo gallery. Relive camp life through interpretive medical office with Civil War-era medical equipment, reconstructed refugee housing and a model of a post office and commissary store. Walk the surrounding fields in the footsteps of the refugees and soldiers who fought a hard-won fight for freedom.